Trends Identified for Traffic Crashes Involving People Walking and Bicycling

The Data

To compile the data used for these infographics TPO staff verified crash locations and assigned crash factors based on information obtained from individual crash reports, including crash narratives and information about citations issued.

There are four infographics available:

In addition to the infographics, this data can also be viewed on an interactive map that was released last fall. It allows users to explore information specific to the type of crash, crash factors and an overview of all the data.

On rural roads, lack of sidewalks is the most common factor in crashes involving people walking or riding bicycles. The footpath that runs alongside the road pictured here makes it clear that a sidewalk is needed.

This data is important to the TPO’s work because 90 percent of the crashes recorded from this five year period resulted in injury or death of a person walking or bicycling. The goal in identifying and analyzing the information is to prevent future crashes through engineering, education, and enforcement.


Local solutions are being found for some of the issues presented. In the Knoxville Region, 39 percent of traffic crashes that involve bicyclists and 48 percent of those involving pedestrians are caused by a motorist failing to yield when making a turn. After identifying a high number of these crashes, the City of Knoxville banned right turns on red at the intersection of Cumberland Ave. and Melrose Place.

The pedestrians shown here are unable to cross the road, despite having a walk signal, due to traffic failing to yield.

Another solution is the use of a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), like the one that has been installed at the traffic signal at the intersection of Downtown West Boulevard and Ray Mears Boulevard. This technology gives pedestrians the walk signal three to seven seconds before motorists get the green light to proceed through the intersection, allowing walkers to establish their presence in the crosswalk ahead of motor vehicles.

A National Issue

National attention has been given to some of the same issues presented in these infographics. A recent news article reports that allowing right turns on red increases the risks of injury and death to those walking or riding a bicycle. Another article states that the number of people who die in a traffic crash while walking has risen significantly over the last decade, and that most of those crashes are occurring on arterial streets. The National Transportation Safety Board studied the dangers of speeding and found that 31 percent of traffic fatalities are speed related.